14:30 (BST); Saturday 30th September; Stadion im Borussia-Park (Mönchengladbach, Germany)
Borussia Mönchengladbach enter Week 7 sitting in 9th place in the standings with a pair of wins, draws and loses.
They will look to atone for last week’s trashing at Dortmund as they host a Hannover side who are yet to lose this season.
André Breitenreiter has continued his unbeaten run since joining Hannover and so far this season, Die Roten have three wins and three draws which sees them sit in fourth place heading into this week’s clash.
With the international break around the corner who will showcase the desire to take the points in Gladbach.
Last time out
Borussia Dortmund 6-1 BORUSSIA MÖNCHENGLADBACH
Dieter Hecking’s side made the journey to Borussia Dortmund looking to escape the Signal Iduna Park. That idea was quickly put aside when Dortmund scored three just before halftime, a ten-minute brace from Maximilian Philipp before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the hosts comfort going into the break.
On the other side of the break, Aubameyang completed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute to see Dortmund lead 5-0.
The only consolation for Gladbach was Lars Stindl finding the back of the net to end Dortmund’s impressive run of over 500 minutes without conceding a goal in the Bundesliga.
It was just a consolation as Dortmund found a sixth just 11 minutes from time when Julian Weigl beat the helpless Tobias Sippel to see Gladbach succumb to their heaviest defeat since Dieter Hecking took charge.
HANNOVER 0-0 Köln
Hannover looked to continue its impressive start to the season as they welcomed a Köln side who were sitting rock bottom entering Week 6.
In what was a frustrating game for all involved and chances were limited.
Köln had one of the best chances in the first half when Salif Sané gave possession away as the last man with Jhon Córdoba off to the races. Luckily for Hannover, the Columbian failed to hit the target.
Sané looked to atone for his error and nearly put Hannover in front when his header hit the frame of the goal. The second half was uninspiring from both sides as the points were shared.
Hannover maintained their impressive home record as they are yet to concede at the HDI Arena this season.
Borussia Mönchengladbach Lineup
Gladbach will still be without first choice ‘keeper Yann Sommer as he’s given time to recover from a twisted knee, so Tobias Sippel will be between the sticks for Dieter Hecking on Saturday.
Patrick Herrmann is likely to return to the starting XI with Fabian Johnson making way. Hermann will operate on the right with Thorgan Hazard returning to the left.
Hannover returned to the 4-4-2 formation that saw the club gain promotion last season, but this week in Gladbach, we will see a return to the 4-3-3.
Jonathas will be available for selection after missing the past three weeks with an injury and he is likely to start ahead of Niclas Füllkrug.
Hannover are likely to be without Pirmin Schwegler, who is suffering ongoing knee problems, so Manuel Schmiedebach will come into the side.
Key Battle: Christoph Kramer vs Marvin Bakalorz
The former World Cup winner has been in the wars this season but remains a key member of the Gladbach midfield.
Christoph Kramer has been mentoring Denis Zakaria in midfield and mostly the partnership has been a success.
Kramer has won 41% of his tackles this year and completed 88% of his passes. The now masked midfielder will have an interesting challenge against Hannover’s Marvin Bakalorz.
Bakalorz is a journeyman in nature but looks to have secured a home in Hannover. Formerly of Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt and Paderborn, the 28-year-old native of Offenbach am Main has been a pivotal part of Hannover’s midfield.
However, without Pirmin Schwegler, the load will be on Bakalorz to take control of the midfield area. If Bakalorz can pull momentum Hannover’s way, Die Rotten have a good chance of entering the international break unbeaten.
The need to go forward
There is no doubting Hannover’s overwhelming strength is in defence, as they have only conceded twice all season.
However, it’s their lack of attacking grunt that could leave André Breitenreiter concerned going into their clash with Gladbach on Saturday.
Martin Harnik has been their go-to guy this season with four goals from six appearances, though Niclas Füllkrug hasn’t found his feet in the Bundesliga yet and he needs to raise his game.
Last week’s game was an absolute disaster for Gladbach who haven’t conceded that many goals since Dieter Hecking took charge at the end December.
A reboot is exactly what Gladbach need as they return home for the final game until the international break.
Last time at home it was Raffael who came up trumps for Gladbach with a brace in a 2-0 win over Stuttgart. A repeat performance at home will be exactly what Gladbach needs to gain momentum.
PREDICTION: Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 Hannover
Hannover have been one of the surprise teams this season in the Bundesliga and could enter the break in the top six. Gladbach are a solid attacking side and will cause the Hannover defence problems.
I expect Hannover to pressure Gladbach with a strong press, which has been effective this season.
That being said, I believe Gladbach will take their chances with Raffael and Lars Stindl the goal-scoring difference makers as the hosts take the points at home.
Can Gladbach return to winning ways or will Hannover extend its unbeaten start to the season? Let us know in the comments section below.
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